Michigan basketball: What’s at stake for Wolverines in Big Ten Tournament?

The Michigan men’s basketball team closed the regular season on a tear. Now, the Wolverines are ready to kick off the postseason on the same torrid pace.

Michigan opens the Big Ten Tournament as the defending champion. The Wolverines are aiming for a second consecutive tournament title and a high NCAA Tournament seed.

Michigan is poised for another Big Ten Tournament run this season. The Wolverines have won seven of their last eight games as they enter the conference tournament, including Saturday’s 85-61 rout at Maryland.

The Big Ten Tournament opens Wednesday in New York City. The Wolverines (24-7) play their first tournament game Thursday as the No. 5 seed, and will face the winner of the No. 12-No. 13 second-round matchup played Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Michigan found out its tournament seeding Sunday night after Nebraska’s 76-64 win against Penn State.

What’s at stake for Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament?

Michigan enters with the goal of successfully defending its Big Ten Conference tournament championship. The Wolverines’ 2017 Big Ten Tournament run followed a plane crash that involved only minor injuries when the takeoff was aborted the day before the start of the tournament.

Some called the 2017 tournament run miraculous, for many reasons. The Wolverines started the postseason as a bubble team. They entered as the eighth seed in last year’s tournament, and won four straight games to earn an automatic NCAA Tournament berth as the Big Ten champion.

The Wolverines eye a repeat of last year’s conference tournament run.

What does Michigan need to do to improve its seeding in the NCAA Tournament?

Winning the Big Ten Tournament will certainly help the Wolverines’ seeding cause.

In addition to playing for its second straight Big Ten championship, Michigan is a lock to reach the NCAA Tournament. An early exit from the Big Ten Tournament wouldn’t hinder Michigan’s hopes of entering March Madness, but it would affect where the Wolverines open the NCAA Tournament.

CBSSports.com has the Wolverines  as a No. 6 seed in the Midwest region, in its NCAA Tournament bracket projections posted Sunday.

ESPN has the Wolverines  as a No. 6 seed in the South region, in its NCAA Tournament bracket projections posted Thursday.

KenPom.com ranks Michigan at No. 16 as of Sunday. Ken Pomeroy’s rankings are a measure of efficiency, as opposed to simply wins and losses.

Wins in the Big Ten Tournament will only help Michigan’s cause for getting a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament, which begins March 13 with the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, and continues at first-round sites on March 15.

Selection Sunday is at 6 p.m. ET March 11.

The post Michigan basketball: What’s at stake for Wolverines in Big Ten Tournament? appeared first on Land of 10.

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